Practice Tips

The following tips are designed to improve the kind of skills required to become a professional court interpreter:

  1. Become familiar with courtroom settings, procedure and legal vocabulary by visiting your local courts. Observe different kinds of proceedings and practice your interpreting skills by following the hearing and trying to interpret what you hear.
  2. Watch the local and national news or TV shows like Law and Order and CSI and try to simultaneously interpret what you hear. This will give you a sense for the speed required to interpret in the simultaneous mode and the vocabulary you will be expected to master.
  3. Clip any article on current events or a court case from your local newspaper and have a friend or colleague read it to you while you interpret out loud and record your rendition. Then, listen to the recording and take note of any words you missed or did not know. Look the words up, learn their meanings and repeat the exercise. Practice your delivery so your rendition flows naturally and smoothly without sounding rushed or halting. Repeat this type of exercise as often as necessary with different source materials until you can do it without missing any content or information while keeping up with the speaker.
  4. Borrow books from your local library that explain our legal system and the various types of criminal and civil cases and how they proceed through the courts. You can also find books about interpreting in legal settings and developing interpreting skills.
  5. Start developing your own glossaries by keeping track of vocabulary and legal terms you come across in all the previous activities and learn the equivalent meanings of legal terms in your working language.
  6. Review the glossary of terms to start familiarizing yourself with legal terminology used in the Pennsylvania courts.